Twistings

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19 July 2013

How secure is your password?

by Michelle Cottis

It seems that no one can escape the internet today without having a long, long list of usernames and passwords for the many websites that we interact with online. Your email, bank accounts, energy supplier, social networking, phone, not to mention all the shopping sites.

I’m going to guess that the majority of people reading this will follow a similar password convention to me, up until a few weeks ago. I had about 3 passwords that I would regularly use for virtually all my various logins. I had it covered, I could remember 3 passwords, and each of them followed the range of password criteria: uppercase, lowercase, more than 6, less than 10 characters, numbers, and throw in a ‘special’ character for good measure.

But then it occurred to me. If someone guessed my password to view my gas bill, it wasn’t the end of the world, but what if they gained access to my webmail?

Not only would they be able to reset my email password, but they’d have the password for about 33% of all my other online accounts. And with access to my email account, they could happily reset my password to everything in my online bubble.

So, I hastily changed the password to my email account. But how do I remember yet another password? A completely random password is very secure, but completely forgettable.


Here’s a few helpful tips:

When selecting a new password, make sure it’s over 8 characters long.

Choose a word (or words) that is memorable to you, but not obvious to others. Don’t choose your name! Maybe the name of your first school, your grandfather’s name or the street you grew up on. I’m going to take London Road as an example.

Now remove any spaces (computers often get confused with those pesky spaces). LondonRoad

Now lets change a few characters. Some good examples of this are:

  • i = !
  • o = 0
  • a = @
  • l = 1
  • s = 5
  • g = 9
  • E = 3
  • Z = 2

So my password now looks a little like this: 10nd0nRo@d

At last, a password that I can remember, and it gets a big green tick in the ‘Password Strength’ box.

And finally, at the very least, use a unique password for your email account. Don’t reuse this password for any other login.


Tags: Business | Hosting & Domains | Knowledge Base | Security |

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